Towards a humane learner punishment: A Lesotho secondary schools' teachers perspective
Keywords:Children's rights, Cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, International and regional treaties and protocols, Teacher professional ethics, Social contract theory
This study examined teachers’ interpretation of the Lesotho Education Act of 2010’s phrase “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” and its impact on how learners are disciplined. For some researchers, punishment in schools is associated with corporal punishment. For this reason, researchers often focus on the issue of abolishing corporal punishment, thereby overlooking other non-physical forms of punishment despite them being equally agonising. This study departed from the interpretivist paradigm and adopted a qualitative approach. An open-ended qualitative research questionnaire was used to generate data. This was followed up with focus group interviews conducted with the teachers in some selected Lesotho secondary schools. The findings indicate that teachers interpret the above phrase as a mere referring to the abolishment of corporal punishment. Hence teachers still use other forms of cruel, degrading and inhumane punishments such as insulting and ridiculing the learners, despite the legislation protecting children against abuse. These forms of teacher behaviour not only constitute learner abuse, but also compromise the professional ethics by which teachers ought to abide. The recommendation made by the study is that teachers should be mindful of the teaching professional ethics taught to them during their pre-service training. In addition, Lesotho’s Ministry of Education and Training, in collaboration with other stakeholders, should train teachers on children’s rights and how to safeguard such rights in the school setting.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Kelello Rakolobe, Tebello Tlali
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